Toil and Trouble is an anthology about witches. Some of my favorite characters in fantasy get a whole book about themselves. I was interested in this book from the moment I heard about it and I can wait to discuss it with you.
¨Starsong¨, by Tehlor Kay Mejia
¨Starsong¨ was the story that I anticipated the most, and it did not disappoint!!! I loved reading about Luna and her love interest. Luna did not have a good past, but it was explained very well and I was so glad that Luna was trying to change her life. The plot mostly took place in Luna´s bedroom, on social media, but I enjoyed it anyway. Reading about Luna´s abilities was pretty cool, and it made me so jealous. My favorite thing about ¨Starsong¨ was how realistic Luna was. I loved this story and highly recommend it.
¨Afterbirth¨, by Andrea Cremer
¨Afterbirth¨ was disappointing after I had just finished ¨Starsong¨. I was confused during the whole story because I didn’t know if Deliverance was telling it as it happened, or looking back on it. The story took place at the birthing of a child, and a witch trial. I didn’t understand what part of this was actually happening, or if any of it was actually happening. I liked Deliverance and I wanted the best for her, but I just wish that Andrea had made her POV clearer. I think that the concept of this story was very well-written, but I wish that the actual story had been better.
¨The Heart In Her Hands¨, by Tess Sharpe
I really liked ¨The Heart In Her Hands¨ but I had one burning question that needed to be answered, yet wasn’t. I really wanted to know if Fate was worshipped by everyone or just a few people. Normally, this question is answered early on, but this time it wasn’t. Otherwise, I loved the way that “The Heart In Her Hands” was written. The characters were very unique and the magic system was quite detailed. The plot was something new and I was very impressed. I really enjoyed this short story and will definitely try and pick up another one of Ms. Sharpe’s works.
“Death In The Sawtooths”, by Lindsay Smith
“Death In The Sawtooths” was an interesting read and I really enjoyed it. I loved the way that Ms. Smith incorporated bullying into this story and made a point of how terrible it is. Mattie is such a relatable character and I loved reading about her. The one thing that I didn’t like about “Death In The Sawtooths” was how one of the bullies seemed to be forgiven by the end of the story. Otherwise, I loved the magic system and I hope that Ms. Smith writes like this all of the time. I really enjoyed “Death In The Sawtooths” and I will be reading more of Ms. Smith’s works.
“The Truth About Queenie”, by Brandy Colbert
“The Truth About Queenie” was a well-written story, but it wasn’t my favorite. I enjoyed reading about Queenie and her life, but there was a very problematic scene involving Queenie and the love interest. It upset me, but I understood why it was happening. The magical aspect of this story was not downplayed at all, and I really loved how stressed the consequences of magic were. Sure, it was a little bit too much but better that then nothing. My favorite thing about “The Truth About Queenie” was how it talked about self-doubt and how to overcome that. I really liked “The Truth About Queenie” and I will be picking up more books by Ms. Colbert in the future.
“The Moonapple Menagerie”, by Sheveta Thakrar
This was definitely one of my favorite stories in this anthology. “The Moonapple Menagerie” is a story about a play that gets disrupted when a churl shows up. It was a humorous story, at least to me, and I loved how the witch coven figured out how to solve their problem. “The Moonapple Menagerie” was a story about friendship and trusting others with your problems, and it was done beautifully. I had no problem with this story and highly recommend it.
“The Legend of Stone Mary”, by Robin Talley
This story was very disappointing and I wish that it had been better. The ending of this story was too well tied-up and I wish that it had been more open-ended. All of the characters were too tropey and I hated them. They smoked and made terrible decisions. Which I don’t approve of if anyone was wondering. I wish that the characters had been better written and I enjoyed reading this book more, but what will be, will be.
“The One Who Stayed”, by Nova Ren Suma
“The One Who Stayed” was a very interesting read. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t understand what was happening for the first page or two of the story. This story is about a group of witches who have been hurt by men in their small town, and they band together to get revenge. I can’t say that I liked reading some parts, but they needed to be told. I really think that “The One Who Stayed” would be a good book, but it is Nova’s choice to continue it. I will definitely be picking up more books by her.
“Divine Are The Stars”, by Zoraida Cordova
“Divine Are The Stars” was an odd story, but it worked. Reading about Marimar and her life was really fun, and I found her relatable. I really liked the magical aspect of this story and how some of Marimar’s family felt unwanted because of their lack of magic. You don’t see that very often in fantasy settings, where pretty much everyone has magic. The plot was also interesting and it made me want to pick up more books by this author. I really liked this story and I will be picking up more books by Zoraida.
“Daughters of Baba Yaga”, by Brenna Yovanoff
When I started this story, I thought that it would be another two or three star, but it turned around halfway through the book. In the beginning, the girls showed no signs of magical powers (and they still don’t appear to have any powers) and just whined about the injustices that they weren’t trying to fix. Until the middle of the story. By the middle, the girls had finally figured out that they needed to do something. It was an interesting book, and I did enjoy it – sort of.
“The Well Witch”, by Kate Hart
This book was magnificent!!! “The Well Witch” is fairly explanatory and I loved how point blank it was. All of the characters were quite realistic and I loved how sassy our main character, Elsa, was. She was very relatable and I need more of her in my life. The plot was very intriguing and I was engrossed in it. I loved “The Well Witch” more than I expected and I can’t wait to read more by Ms. Hart.
“Beware of Girls With Crooked Mouths”, by Jessica Spotswood
This story seemed too much like Three Dark Crowns for me to fully enjoy it. The main storyline was literally sisters trying to kill each other with their magical powers. And some of their powers were the same as the sisters in Three Dark Crowns. One sister could control fire and one could control poison. Does that ring a bell? Two of the sisters came up with a plan to steal the love of a younger sister’s life. These sisters claimed to love each other very much, yet they stabbed each other in the back an awful lot. Well, that was a lovely rant. So far, this is my least favorite story in this anthology.
“Love Spell”, by Anne-Marie McLemore
This was yet another McLemore gem!!! It felt like I had known the main character (who remained unnamed) and Adrian all of my life. All of the side characters were very fleshed out and I enjoyed reading about them. This was not a happy story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. “Love Spell” was a very well-written magical realism, so obviously, the magical aspects were spot on. I loved hearing about the different kinds of magic, and how magic interacted with religion. “Love Spell” is one of my favorite stories in this anthology.
“The Gherin Girls”, by Emery Lord
This story was amazing!!! I loved this book and I can’t wait to read more by Emery. I was addicted to this story and wanted to know everything about the sisters. Nova, Rosie, and Willa were such great characters and sisters. Rosie was the main character in this story and I was so amazed at her strength. Not the traditional kind of strength, mind you. Rosie was strong in a different way and I respected that. The plot did not have very much magic in it, but the girls had detailed, well thought out, abilities and I loved that. I will definitely be picking up more books by Emery Lord.
“Why They Watch Us Burn”, by Elizabeth May
I loved “Why They Watch Us Burn” so much!!! It was a hard read, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. I loved the way that the girls looked out for each and cared about the health (mental and physical) of each other. I was so proud of all the girls by the end and I really hope that everything turns out alright for them, although I know how likely that is. The plot was one of the most interesting that I have read in this anthology. “Why They Watch Us Burn” is probably my favorite story in this anthology.
I really enjoyed this anthology and I highly recommend it for the Halloween season. Remember to fill out my survey. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons